Agents of Discovery Mobile App

2018 Agents of Discovery Sponsorship

I. Overview

The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) and US Forest Service are offering an exciting opportunity to engage youth and their families in informal environmental education during this year’s National Public Lands Day.

This year marks the 25th annual National Public Lands Day. To help celebrate, NEEF and US Forest Service are partnering to launch site specific environmental education missions using the Agents of Discovery (AoD) smartphone app at six field sites across the country. AoD is a place-based educational mobile gaming platform that connects youth to nature through engaging content that heightens conservation awareness and increases visitor enjoyment of public lands.

The Forest Service and NEEF have collaborated to design a National Public Lands Day themed mission for the AoD platform. The NPLD-themed mission is designed to raise awareness about:

  • peoples relationship to the environment;
  • the critical role public lands play in increasing our country’s resilience;
  • the importance of environmental stewardship ; and
  • the significance of the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System Act

The selected sites will each receive:

  • One four-month license to host AoD at their public lands site (August 2018 – December 2018);
  • Support and resources from NEEF and Forest Service to ensure effective implementation including training webinars and other technical support;
  • National and local media support through NEEF’s targeted earned and social media outreach activities to help promote the sites and their NPLD events; and
  • Assistance with NPLD event planning and logistics.

II. About Agents of Discovery

Agents of Discovery is a mobile game platform that encourages kids to move, play and explore as they complete augmented reality missions in real-world parks and forests.  While on a mission, users might go on scavenger hunt, answer questions that prompt them to dig deeper into the history of an area, or learn more about the specific plants and animals around them. By completing missions, users earn points which can be redeemed for in-game badges. Missions are free to play and, once downloaded, do not require WiFi or a data connection.

Agents of Discovery’s companion web-based Mission Maker software allows a license holder to customize their missions to align with the amenities of their particular park, forest or other public land. By gamifying environmental educational content, Agents of Discovery makes learning about America’s public lands fun for the whole family!

III. Eligibility/Requirements

  • Sites must be publicly accessible;
  • Sites will be required to register and host at least one NPLD event during the month of September, preferably on September 22, and incorporate the following: (1) use of the NPLD themed AoD mission, (2) provide educational resources regarding the link between personal and environmental health and conduct a participant survey on the subject, (3) include a volunteer service project, and (4) inform participants of ongoing or upcoming citizen science projects or field research at the site;
  • Sites must have an established partnership with an individual school or school district;
  • Sites must provide a project coordinator able to commit to attending all group calls and webinars provided by NEEF and Forest Service; and
  • Sites must be a member of the Hands on the Land network (or willing to become one)

IV. Application Deadline

The application deadline has been extended. Applications are now due by midnight (EDT) Friday, August 10, 2018. It is anticipated that applicants will be notified whether or not they were selected for the sponsorship award by the end of August 2018.

V. Timeline


  • Launch the AoD application
  • Select six pilot sites


  • Announce the six selected sites
  • NEEF and Forest Service work with staff at selected sites to integrate AoD mission
  • Complete testing to ensure the missions and the site are ready for launch


  • Missions become available to the public
  • Social media outreach from NEEF and Forest Service promoting the launch of the mission and encouraging the public to participate
  • Pilot sites host an AoD event during the month, preferably on 9/22

September - November:

  • Mission will remain active at host sites

VI. Submission

Applications for the 2018 Agents of Discovery Sponsorship are only  accepted through NEEF’s online system. Follow these steps to register and begin your application:

  1. Click here to apply.

  2. You will be taken to a login page. If you have not created an account from a previous NEEF award, select Create New Account. If you have created an account with NEEF, skip to step 4.

  3. Follow the instructions to create your account. It will ask you for your contact information as the account holder and the contact information for your organization’s representative. Contact information supplied in the User Information section should reflect the individual who will be directly handling the application process for your organization. In the Organization Information section, we recommend that you include the contact information of the person in charge of your installation site or office. This would be the person who is authorized to sign off on items such as Award Agreements.

  4. Upon creating an account, it will take you to your home screen. To start your application, click Apply in the menu on the left. You will be taken to a list of NEEF awards and funding opportunities. Select 2018 Agents of Discovery Sponsorship.

  5. Complete the application. Remember:

    1. You can save the application and return later.

    2. Pay close attention to character limits.  These limits include spaces!

  6. Once you have completed the application and uploaded all attachments, click Submit Form to complete your application. If you do not click Submit Form, you will not have completed your application. You will be directed to a confirmation screen upon submitting. 

Apply Now


VI. Questions

For questions or issues with the application, please contact Tony Richardson, Program Officer for Public Lands Engagement at